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England's Ashes hopes diminish after Hazlewood's demolition job
Match Report

England's Ashes hopes diminish after Hazlewood's demolition job

Josh Hazlewood scalped five England wickets as the hosts capitulated to a woeful 67 all out on the second day of the Headingley Test to leave their Ashes hopes hanging by a thread.

A familiar England batting collapse marked their lowest total against Australia since 1948 and the fourth instance of managing a score under hundred in a Test innings, also just a month after being dismissed at 85 by Ireland at Lord's.

Hazlewood registered the seventh five-wicket haul of his career in a devastating spell of fast bowling as England could survive merely 27 overs in their first innings.

Australia then made valuable additions to their 112-run lead by finishing the day's play at 171-6, strengthening their chances of retaining the Ashes title by possibly going 2-0 up in the series.

Star batsman Steve Smith's replacement, Marnus Labuschagne once again warded off the blows from England's pace quartet to accumulate his third successive half-century of the series.

Labuschagne's unflappable temperament at the crease and solid technique enabled him to put Australia in a commanding position in the match.

England captain Joe Root's misery knew no end on Friday as his failure with the bat in the first session of day two was then followed by fumbles in the field and a costly drop of Labuschagne in the slips when his Australian counterpart was batting at 14.

England's troubles extended further when Jofra Archer, who had starred with 6-45 in Australia's first innings, went off the field complaining about a cramp in the afternoon though he did later return to the cricket action.

Labuschagne was let off the hook a second time when he was dropped on 42 by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow - a reflection of the kind of day England had in the field.

Earlier, England's abysmal batting performance was characterized by rash shot selection as Joe Denly was the only batsman from his side to reach double figures.

Seriously lacking the requisite application to bat for longer periods of time and perhaps still enveloped by the World Cup hangover, England's batsmen were guilty of gifting wickets to the opposition.

Chasing wide deliveries outside off-stump on a routine basis, England clearly looked out of the first-class preparation needed ahead of a grueling summer of cricket in the longest format, unlike the Australian batsmen, out of whom several had recently turned up for their county sides in the English domestic circuit.

England's Test batting problems though has been a cause of concern even before the season and a rather unfortunate byproduct of their meteoric rise in limited-overs cricket.

Australia's drubbing of England was more shocking given the fact the latest rout took place under sunny skies as opposed to the conventionally overcast conditions more suited to assist pace bowling.

England's opening crisis, which has worsened since the retirement of Sir Alastair Cook, deepened as Jason Roy continued his lean run in red-ball cricket perishing for nine trying to go for an expansive drive off the bowling of Hazlewood.

Root's persistent struggles with the bat

Root, who promoted himself to the important No.3 slot in the England batting order for the Ashes, then fell for a two-ball duck while pushing at a length delivery from Hazlewood moving off the seam.

Expected to lead England's batting charge, Root found himself being dismissed for the second straight score of nought in the series after securing a golden duck at Lord's.

Talking about his spellbinding display of pace bowling at Headingley, Hazlewood was jubilant at stumps.

"It feels pretty good, it didn't feel like a collapse, we just kept taking wickets and the scoreboard didn't move," he told BBC Radio.

"When we woke up and there wasn't a cloud in the sky it looked like a batting day.

"We didn't do too much, just put the ball in the right areas and we took our chances."

Fresh from a valiant century in the previous game, England's Ben Stokes got carried away and slashed at a wide half-volley from James Pattinson to nick a fast-traveling ball to David Warner.

Denly's 49-ball 12 also ended off the bowling of Pattinson with another batsman swinging at a loose delivery.

England scrambled to 54-6 at lunch before their precarious situation aggravated when Jos Buttler fell on the first ball after the interval.

Hazlewood fittingly prised out the final England wicket when he clean bowled Jack Leach to finish with splendid figures of 5-30.